The Academy Awards kicks off tonight while several protests on the lack of diversity in Oscars also began across the United States.
Rev. Al Sharpton led about 70 demonstrators in a rally in Los Angeles on Sunday to protest the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees, Variety reported.
“You are out of time. This will be the last night of an all-white Oscars,” he said before the demonstrators.
Sharpton slammed the Hollywood for what he said a repeated broken promises on diversity, New York Times reported. The reverend likewise vowed for longer protests and pressuring advertisers if there will be no change in next year’s Oscars. Sharpton also delivered a sermon Sunday morning at First AME Church of Los Angeles, according to LA Times.
According to the group, Sharpton’s appearance is part of a series of protests led by his National Action Network in key cities across the country, including in Miami, Atlanta and Detroit. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite is also being used in social media in relations to the protests.
Several celebrities had earlier expressed dismay over the lack of non-white nominees in this year’s Academy Awards. This prompted some to call for a boycott of the awards giving body. Will Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, was among those who first took to social media to announce her plans not to attend the Academy Awards. Director Spike Lee also criticized the Oscars for the all-white nominations.
The call for boycott prompted the academy to promise reforms. Academy Awards president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced last month that there will be several changes to its voting and membership procedures to double their female and “diverse” membership by 2020.
The 88th annual Academy Awards will be held Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It will air live on ABC at 5:30 p.m. PST.
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